Posts filed under ‘Recycling’

Many Canadians are recycling wrong, and it’s costing us millions

Canadians are throwing too much garbage into their blue bins, sometimes out of laziness or ignorance, but sometimes with the best of intentions. And it’s costing recycling programs millions of dollars a year.

Even a few spoonfuls of peanut butter left in a jar can contaminate a tonne of paper and make it unmarketable — destined for the dump. Same for that glob of yogurt left in the bottom of the container.

Contamination has recently become a much bigger issue because China, the world’s biggest importer of recyclable material, started banning imports of paper with more than 0.5 per cent contamination — a standard that North American cities are struggling to meet.

Read Many Canadians are recycling wrong, and it’s costing us millions by Emily Chung at CBC News.

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April 23, 2018 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

China Is Officially Enacting a Plastic Waste Import Ban

Starting in January, China’s government is enacting a plastic waste import ban, in an attempt to cut down on millions of tons of plastic and other recyclables they receive every year. This change may drastically affect how the world recycles and disposes of waste.

But while government officials worldwide consider how to move forward after China’s plastic waste import ban, the main focus has to be on the environment. This ban may undo the decades-long effort to build a plastics recycling industry, and lead to even more plastics being produced; IndustryWeek reports that China has already begun investing in brand new plastic to replace what they’re no longer recycling, to the delight of US chemical companies.

That’s especially bad news as plastic waste continues to harm the environment, particularly marine animals. The U.N. has called our plastics problem a “planetary crisis,” and action needs to be taken soon. Unless another country steps in to fill the recycling gap China has created, this issue will only get worse.

Read China Is Officially Enacting a Plastic Waste Import Ban by Claudia Geib and Chelsea Gohd at Futurism.

January 3, 2018 at 12:33 pm Leave a comment

Waste Reduction Group Launch

Filmed by YourTV Cornwall. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about the 7 R’s of waste reduction at the launch of Transition Cornwall +’s newest action group.

November 27, 2017 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

Beyond the Blue Box

 CoverOntario has a waste problem. Every year, Ontario produces nearly one tonne of waste per person, and three-quarters of this waste ends up in landfills. The government’s new Waste-Free Ontario Act and Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario set an ambitious goal of a circular economy that sends zero waste to landfill.

Beyond the Blue Box acknowledges that Ontario’s new law and strategy are a significant achievement, but calls on government to get serious about making it work. The first steps: get food waste (organics) out of landfills and get businesses to pull their weight.

Ontario is rightfully proud of the Blue Box, which recycles paper and packaging from homes. But the Blue Box diverts less than 8% of Ontario’s total waste. For real impact, the province needs action on other significant waste streams – organics and industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) wastes – that have been ignored for far too long.

Read the full report Beyond the Blue Box  at The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

November 15, 2017 at 11:09 am Leave a comment

Combating textile waste

clothingwasteOne of the biggest misconceptions that consumers have is that we should only donate clothes that are gently used. Ninety per cent of all people in Ontario donate at least some of their clothes, but whenever we have a pile of unwanted clothing we sort it based on what we imagine to be valuable and donate only the “good” stuff. The rest goes into the waste bin. Fifteen per cent of all unwanted garments are collected while the vast majority, 85 per cent, ends up in our landfills, taking up valuable space, releasing methane and toxic leachate and contributing to climate change.

While every municipality with populations over 5,000 must operate a blue box recycling program, textiles are on the supplementary list. Yet used clothes are often more valuable than many of the other item categories collected by municipalities. So why are textiles forgotten on our municipal waste diversion list? The good news is that all textiles can be reused or recycled in some way, with pioneering R&D efforts underway to ensure this happens.

Read Combating textile waste by Sabine Weber at Corporate Knights.

May 31, 2017 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

Swap Before You Shop

Much of the advice out there for reducing your fashion footprint involves buying more sustainably made (and often expensive) clothes. But there are a number of ways – many of which we explore in our new Fashion issue – you can lower your impact that save money, both in the short- and long-term.

One way is to hold a clothing swap, which is exactly what it sounds like: a group of people get together and trade clothes with one another. Swapping is an extra-familial version of hand-me-downs, and something friends – particularly those who can’t afford to buy new clothes all the time – have been doing intuitively for years. But more formally organized swaps of all sizes – including city-wide events – have been gaining recent popularity. My tips here are for smaller-scale events.

Read Swap Before You Shop by Lauren MacDonald at the Alternatives Journal.

September 12, 2016 at 10:09 am Leave a comment

Is Recycling Worth It?

plasticRecycling the materials you use can save a lot of resources, but placing more emphasis on reducing and reusing consumed items will help pare down our waste streams even more effectively.

To cut back on most materials, adopt a BYOC mentality: Bring Your Own Containers, such as cloth sacks or glass jars, to grocery stores for transporting produce, bulk foods, and meats and cheeses from the deli counter. Take containers to restaurants for carting home leftovers. Purchase reusable drink canisters. Try your hand at making your own condiments, body care concoctions and cleaning products. Read on to find extra reduction tips for when you can’t cut consumption.

When you do recycle, keep in mind that some substances are more worthwhile to recycle than others, depending on the energy required to extract the raw material, and the environmental footprint the substance leaves behind. Following is a list of materials, information about the worth of recycling each one, and tips for how to follow the Three R’s in the right order: reduce, reuse, and, finally, recycle

Read Is Recycling Worth It? by Joanna Poncavage at Mother Earth News.

July 25, 2016 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

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